Thoughts and Suggestions for the Flawed Supporters, Non-Allies, and Confused Teeterers of Facebook.
DISCLAIMER: Black people, I believe that it is not our JOB to educate others on racism and privilege. Yes there are still an alarming amount of ignorant beliefs and actions exemplified by some non black humans and more and more I’m letting go of the “they just need to be educated” narrative and realizing that it’s a matter of willful negligence. The lack of knowledge screams “excuse” at this point. However, like my eloquent, writer friend Yvette Foy said “Some are disconnected. But it doesn’t mean they’re not advocates of justice. [...] One more person informed is one less person who uses it without a full understanding of the possible repercussions.” So I choose to continue to interact. I’m listing observations and thoughts based on what I’m witnessing because I want to. It is a role that I’m choosing to take on. It’s therapeutic for me. If you choose to teach make sure to do so at your own pace and monitor your sanity as intellectual labor can be quite taxing. Some folks don’t care to learn or understand. Some folks can’t fathom agreeing to understand that they just may never be able understand. Plus, there is an abundance of information that everyone has access to inclusive of video tutorials in the form of public lynchings.
This list contains thoughts and suggestions based off of conversations I’ve participated in or witnessed on Social Media:
1. Understand that racism still exists. If you aren’t willing to accept that with your own eyes then ask around. I could give you at least 25 personal experiences. The first I remember happened at 5 or 6 years old. 1 happened last year. I do believe in a conspiracy theory or two myself but reality is reality when you’ve experienced reality. Two days ago, A grown white man really tried to convince me that we would have more love in the world if black people weren’t so manipulated into believing racism was real. As if we don’t have experiences and daily personal proof. As if... our voices don’t matter because he doesn’t believe we are capable of having a logical voice. I honestly believe that some people have an issue with acknowledging that racism still exists because they feel like they would then have to acknowledge some type of guilt. Perhaps for their own participation. Perhaps the guilt stems from what they’ve witnessed within their upbringing and family settings. Either way, the refusal to acknowledge it doesn’t mean it is fake.
2. Acknowledging your privilege doesn’t mean exposing that you’re a villain. It doesn’t mean you’re putting a target on yourself to be hated. It doesn’t mean that you’re this terrible person who needs to spend the rest of their days in complete guilt and misery. No one ever said this. Acknowledging privilege means accepting the power you have to help make a difference. It means you have the ability to influence in ways that some may not. It means your voice can serve an important role in the quest for what’s fair and just. It means recognizing the opportunities and advantages you have from birth and using that to support those without the same advantages but who are just as or more qualified. It means recognizing that your level of understanding is extremely limited in some topics of conversation therefore you should closely monitor your opinion. The amount of dramatics behind the term privilege is mind boggling and childish. But, I guess to accept privilege means to accept the existence of racism which some would rather not.
3. Don’t fix your mouth to tell us to stop using the terms black people/white people and what to do with our safe spaces. We understand social constructs, however, we are proud to be black. We are proud of our lineage. We are kings and queens and we love who we are. We celebrate our blackness because we’ve seen others demonize it, yet, attempt to duplicate parts and pieces of the culture without attribution. Our parents have instilled in us confidence and comfort in being black so that no one can make us feel inferior because of the color of our skin. We have safe spaces for us that were created because of a need to create this confidence and comfort. These spaces are still around because of the need to keep this confidence and comfort and the need to continue creating this confidence and comfort. Before you fix your mouth, mind, or heart to say that these spaces no longer need to exist, educate yourself on why safe, black spaces were created in the first place and understand, first and foremost, that You cannot tell us when to absolve these spaces especially since racism still exists.
4. Take responsibility for what you say(type) and do. I kid you not. I’ve witnessed at least 6 Facebook conversations, over the last three days, where a person will type something that’s problematic then another person will call them out by quoting them, verbatim. Do they take responsibility? Nope. Each of these people accused the other person of twisting their words or putting words in their mouth. THEY WERE QUOTED VERBATIM. It’s a trend of deflection. Most likely it’s because they know that what they typed was foul and seeing it typed by someone else allows them to see how foul it is. Say (type) what you mean and mean what you say (type). Or, at least, take responsibility for it when the flaws of what you said (wrote) are brought to your attention. An “You’re right that was a problem” or “I misspoke” or “I understand where I went wrong” or “yea, I said that and I see the confusion so let me further explain” isn’t too hard to give. Mistakes happen and this is all a learning opportunity. Your words matter because it is representative of what you believe and what you will do. You cannot fault someone for believing a certain thing about your character if your words and actions are reflective of the thing that is believed of you.
5. Please stop with the “why can’t we all just move on”, “why can’t we all just love” narratives! If you truly want to move on and if you truly want to love all then you will take your blinders off and understand what it is that is going on. You will use that love to develop an understanding of the hurt and pain that people are experiencing. You will know that we can’t just move on when the same damn things keep happening over and over. You will understand that it’s bigger than the recent killings; there’s a long list of names that I’d advise you to google and research. Do you know how amazing it would be to not have to experience racism, or see another black dead body killed with the plague of injustice to follow, or to not have to hear of someone close to you experiencing racism, or to see racism prevail in the workplace as well as the comment sections? I’m speaking of blatant racism. Then there is covert racism. If you truly want to be of love and light then be part of the solution of destroying this disease. That means doing work. Hard work. Uncomfortable work. You have to talk to your children and your parents.... if your house is infested with rodents you don’t kill the rodents with prayer or good energy. You have to get to the root of the infestation and exterminate it.
6. Please stop with the “I don’t see skin color”. You can see my skin color. You can recognize that I am a black woman and still have the utmost respect and admiration for me. My blackness is not a handicap or a crutch. You don’t have to feel threatened by my blackness. You don’t have to take away my blackness in order to accept me as another human deserving of the same opportunities and luxuries as you.
7. This is most definitely not the time for an ally or someone who wants to actually make a change to be silent. It’s just not. The collective silence is what allows the collective apathy, thus, the continuation of the same damn thing happening over and over again. We do see you if you’re quiet. This is pressure. While I am my own person and I won’t hate anyone for not speaking up, I do categorize you and I will always side eye you anytime you speak of loving everyone and being a Christian, etc. At this point many people equate being a non-ally to being a racist and it is understandable. Willful ignorance is the worst form of ignorance.
8. If you choose not to be an ally then so be it. That’s on you. However, if that’s the choice you make then please for the love of God don’t play victim when you choose to say or do something completely problematic then catch flak for it. Don’t come under people’s posts with your opinion if you are going to choose not to understand then cry “you’re attacking me” when you catch these words. Don’t get mad because someone recognizes the hate in your speech and calls you out on it. If you’re going to whine about the outcome then just remain silent or write in your journal.
9. Check your Christianity. I’m not sure which Jesus remained silent to social issues. Not the one from any bible anyone has ever quoted to me. I’m not sure which Jesus used love alone without addressing the real issues and roots of problems. I’m not sure which Jesus saw a group of mistreated people then pretended like the mistreatment didn’t exist, yet, only asks everyone to get along in the name of love and light. Nah, the one I’ve read about let you know what was up first. I’m not sure which Jesus was afraid of exposing the truth no matter who it made uncomfortable. Shoot, Jesus even flipped over a table or two when he saw some messed up stuff happening. I’m just saying, If you’re going to be a follower of Christ then be a follower of Christ. Get off of your righteous, “let’s just love like Christ” high horse if you’re not going to actually acknowledge the issues or do the work like Christ would.
10. Please stop picking and choosing which parts of history you want to use to try and vilify the way people feel. We are smart. We read. We pass down factual stories that our grandparents and their parents witnessed. At the very least, we have google with a plethora of credible sources. We know the truth about the vile, ruthless parts of history that occurred within the 20th century that schools refused to teach us. We know speeches. We know the change in thought processes that deceased leaders of the civil rights movement held. We know who were our true allies and who were not. It is insulting to our intelligence and it proves that you’d rather manipulate than educate/be educated. It is non productive.
11. We understand that other unfortunate events happen. No one is neglecting that. We empathize. Feel free to raise hell and awareness when it happens. However, countering black likes matter and/or the protesting with “but what about...” proves that you just don’t want to accept what’s happened and what continues to happen in regards to mistreatment of black people. It’s neglecting that this isn’t a one off incident. This is a series of unfortunate events with the same exact theme. I’m sure this isn’t hard to understand. Unless, of course, you don’t want to.
12. All lives matter: STOP! The main idea I was able to conclude after reading multiple posters’ reasoning for saying all lives matters is that some people just can’t imagine a world that doesn’t revolve around them. That’s all that is. You feel like you’re not included therefore you try to denounce that there is an actual, factual SPECIFIC issue at hand. Again, in regards to those who say this, It’s hard for me to buy the “they need to be educated” narrative. By now there is more than enough material for understanding. However, maybe I’m wrong so I’ll put this out here. I’m going to quote Yvette again (she’s wonderful with words), “‘Black Lives Matter’ is not a contradiction to the fact that all lives matter. All lives aren't being murdered in the street for everyone to see. All lives aren't being targeted in neighborhoods and gunned down. Black Lives Matter is an acknowledgement that in America, it is woefully apparent some lives are treated with deference and some are not simply because of the color of their skin. That is the current construct. That is the systemic racism we deal with everyday on every level. And until everyone - those whose skin is White, Brown, Purple, Pink or Red - can acknowledge that basic fact nothing will change.” So there, it does include you. It includes your support. Hope that helps.
13. Check yourself and whatever issues you may have with Black people. I spoke with a white, male (former classmate) who was seeking understanding. He wants to just love everyone and for everyone to get along. I get it. It’s a beautiful sentiment that I believe most people aspire. In conversation he said “maybe if black people weren’t given so much help then white people would back off some.” Really now? Maybe if the white people who felt that way educated themselves on the reasons why black folks received help then they wouldn’t have to feel so threatened. But the point is that a person looking to spread love, subconsciously(or consciously) believes that some white people’s hate is warranted because of Initiatives created to assist in equality. This was said for a reason. If the belief is that the programs hurt more than harm then your hate needs to be directed to the powers that be not the group receiving help. Your energy should be directed towards the spaces that aren’t creating an even playing field. Your choice of words is telling. Please check your conscious and your subconscious. Fix that shit. (And know that We are also very capable of helping our own.)
14. Talk to your family. Your parents, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles and great-aunts and great-uncles, your cousins, your in-laws... all of them. Correct them. Acknowledge what they’ve taught you and how they think. Let them know how it’s made you feel. We all have healing to do. I know it’s hard to accept that certain people were(are) fucked up people, especially after holding them in such high regard for so long, but truth is truth. If it makes you feel better we all got some ratchet in us... but that racist hate just ratchets differently.
15. Do not tell us when to stop. You will hear us. One way or another. You can mute us on social media but now the country is mad. You can’t hide from it. Pressure is being put on those bubbles. Change is coming. Corporations are sending out PR emails now because they know they better get on board with support or risk losing important consumers. It’s real. Another white male I spoke with told me that he thinks that soon the white race will be the minority and that is scary to him. He also said “I don’t want to fear being a white man”. Let that sink in. Well my only advice to that is to accept and adapt. Tables do turn; It is what it is. However, don’t worry you have nothing to fear except maybe the loss of complete control. Black folks aren’t out to treat white folks like the slave owners treated some of our ancestors. We simply just want to live freely to be our glorious selves with equity. That’s it.
Thank you to the allies. While some people disagree with thanking allies because they believe it’s basic human decency to be an ally, I actually understand how hard it can be for some to get to the level of understanding and bravery to speak out loud. Growing up as one of a few, if not only, black children in my primary and secondary education settings, I’ve witnessed the passage of racism and the generational mind control that racism has. From the “I’d date you if you weren’t black because my dad would be mad” to the “want to hear a black joke” then finding out these types of jokes are shared around the dinner table, to actually experiencing a friend’s mother cancel our sleepover when she discovered I was black the day of the sleepover (my mom has a mean proper voice on the phone), to being told by another 14 y/o in 9th grade “I don’t like black people but I like you”, I understand what you’re up against and what you’re breaking free from. I know how hatred could’ve controlled you and I know that hatred is still silencing so many. I know what hatred has so many in a state of delusion currently. So for that, I say thank you for dismantling that horrid mindset. Thank you for acknowledging what you and I know to be true about racism. Thank you for not turning a blind eye. Thank you for doing the uncomfortable. Thank you for being the change that you want to see and actually being of love and light. Thank you for being selfless. Thank you. #blacklivesmatter